When Doramise Moreau volunteered to start single-handedly cooking at her church to feed thousands in her Miami community every week, she had no idea her good deeds would eventually make national headlines and earn her a brand new car. The selfless woman isn’t in it for the limelight. Her sole goal is to help anyone who needs it.
“Sometimes when you’re looking at people in their face, they don’t need to ask you … you can see they need something,” Moreau told Local 10.
Every week Moreau goes above and beyond in doing to meet that need. After work she borrows a truck from her church — the Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church, which is a community staple in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood — to purchase groceries with donations given to the church.
Then Moreau stays up all night on Fridays to prepare savory meals of rice and beans, turkey, chicken, fish and plaintains that are delivered by members of the church to 1,000 to 1,500 people on Saturday morning. The loss of sleep is a small price to pay if she can bless someone else.
“People ask me, ‘Why don’t you go home and rest? Why don’t you sleep?’” Moreau told The Washington Post. “But I don’t need a lot of sleep. I would rather be here making food for the people. I ask every day for more strength to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Generosity is something Moreau seems to have been born with. She recalls taking food from her parents’ pantry — who didn’t have much for themselves and their 10 children — when she was just a girl in Haiti to give to others who were even less fortunate in their Port-Au-Prince neighborhood
She was undeterred even when her mother scolded her, Moreau says. “I told her, ‘You can whup me today, you can whup me tomorrow, but I’m going to continue to do it,’” Moreau recalled.
The 60-year-old mother and grandmother also knows what it’s like to have her own family to feed. When her marriage didn’t work out, she worked multiple jobs to raise her four kids alone. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated already difficult situations for many, Moreau said feeding others, regardless of who they are, is the least she can do.
“American, Spanish, Haitian — I don’t want anyone to go hungry,” Moreau said. “People are suffering during the pandemic. There’s no work, the rent is high, they might not have money to go to the store.”
Father Reginald Jean-Mary is the leader of Notre Dame and Moreau’s pastor. He told Atlanta Black Star Moreau has been a member of the church for over 18 years and has always actively served. In addition to leading their feeding ministry since last March, Jean-Mary said Moreau cleans the church for a small fee and sings in the choir. He said she didn’t hesitate to volunteer her services when they first launched the feeding program at the start of the pandemic.
“We were looking for somebody to cook for us because we didn’t have the money to pay a restaurant and she said I will do it. So she’s been doing it for the past year for free,” Jean-Mary told Atlanta Black Star.
“It’s really a good blessing to find somebody with such an open heart, a big heart like this, to serve with no self-interest, only in the spirit of faith and commitment, to me that’s the greatest testimony of faith and compassion to the people of God,” Jean-Mary said.
He reiterated that Moreau does everything with the purest intentions. “The way she does it is in such a way where she puts her whole self into it and she’s not looking for any glory or anything,” Jean-Mary said. “She’s not looking for money. She does it just for the sake of being a presence of hope to those people that are broken, and that’s a testimony of who we are as Christians and who we are as humans. So Doramise is a beautiful example of the two vocations of being a human and being a Christian, and she does it with joy.”
What makes Moreau’s give-back even more phenomenal is the fact she was doing all of it without a car until she was given a brand-new Toyota by the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation’s Wheels to Work program last month after being nominated for her stellar service to the community.
Through the program, Moreau will only have to pay $125 per month for three years before she fully owns the vehicle. The rest is subsidized by a grant from the nonprofit.
For Moreau, the car is a testament that the Bible’s promise of reaping what one sows is true. It’s also why she doesn’t worry about being exhausted or sustaining herself on a janitor’s salary.
“I can keep all the money for myself and never give anyone a penny, but if you give from your heart and never think about yourself, God will provide for you every day. The refrigerator will never be without food,” Moreau said.